The Greenman


The Gothic Tarot by Vargo - The Greenman

When I bought The Gothic Tarot, I also acquired Madame Eudora's Fortune Cards at the same moment. The woman (Christine Filipak) who made Madame Eudora's Fortune Cards works very closely with Vargo. She wrote the LWB that comes with The Gothic, made the package. Vargo worked too on the Madame Eudora's Fortune Cards; it is written at the back of the LWB, that the artwork is by her and him.

I'm saying that because I noticed similarities between the two decks. Like the red bloody design on the aces, that same design is in the Madame Eudora's Fortune Cards. Her style is different from his. Actually, the red bloody design on the aces is her style more than his.

I also discovered this week, while working on the Knave Of Cups, another detail. There is some face engraved on the side of the building, and I thought: "I have seen this face before". I went through the deck, and found it again on The Fool, the guardians of the arch.

I also bought wicca books this week, and incidently, was reading one at the same time. It was mentionning the Greenman, that it is: "another name for the God, as in his kingdom of the forest".

Then it clicked in my head. I knew where I had seen this. I went throught my Madame Eudora's Fortune Cards and found the Greenman, with the exact same design as in The Gothic Vargo, the engraved figures on the Knave Of Cups and The Fool. The card has more her style than his. It is written in the LWB: "the greenman is the guardian of the forest, thus he represents a deep reverence for all living thing and a love of the outdoors; the forces of nature favor you".

So the Greenman (the God) appears twice in The Gothic Tarot, on the Knave Of Cups and The Fool. Is it purely for aesthestic purposes or does it have a deeper meaning? Right now, this is the question I'm asking myself, and I haven't found any answer yet.


Can we also see a similar greenman on the wheel of fortune card and the 4 of cups card?


Fascinating thread, Wolfy, thank you for bumping it Annwyn with your reply!

I *just* got the Endora cards last week, so for the first time I'm able to talk about these ideas too. I will have to take the time later to paw through my decks (I'm working from memory here for this post, for now) and compare the Greenmen, but for now, other similarities have also caught my eye with these two decks.

But, to me, certain similarities to Vargo's Gothic deck are too obvious not to be noticed. Although I did not know it was printed that they collaborated on the Endora cards ("oh my, Wolfy, what good eyes you have") I thought it evidently so just by looking at the cards.

Endora's The Raven: this is so freakin-A Gothic I can't even say. Everything about it, the shape and posture of the Raven, the red eyes, beak open mid-caw, and perched on a skull... if someone doesn't see Vargo's influence here, they aren't properly paying attention to their cards.

Endora's The Siren: This one literally made me stop and consider. Vargo's style is all over it too - the hair; the blank, cocoon eyes; the color tones, even the mermaid's face. It's beautiful, really.

But, I look at this card and immediately, I get the psychic sensation of a frustrated artist. There is something in the proportion of the tail that is not quite right, the setting itself behind her was left unfinished (and then a background later added to "finish" it...?) I am tempted to call this a work that Vargo was stubborn enough to see through painting, but ultimately rejected. Still, it was too good to gesso over, so it got used here, with some more touch ups.

And, Medusa. She jumped out as a Vargo card right away too, I remember, both in subject matter and artistic style. It's very close to the girls' faces he uses most often, and if someone told me Vargo *didn't* do this card, then I'd have to insist it was someone trying to copy his style.

Vice versa comparisions in the Gothic deck:

The Gothic Wheel of Fortune has never looked quite "right" to me with Vargo's work. One look at all these circular, mandala-like cards in the Endora deck tells me why.

The heart in the 3 of swords... I recognize that filigree alright. (Check out the Endora Love card). Just like you said about the filigree behind the Aces too, Wolfy.

In fact, the Ace-Two-Threes are all more Filipak looking, in general.

And, can't forget the one that made me go get UP and find my decks to see for sure... Endora's the Serpent and the Gothic's 3 of Wands serpent... geez louise. I saw the Endora card and my mind started inserting 3 wands in the serpent's S-curve gaps. They're really *not* the same snake, but try telling my mind that.

And a general musing: What about all of them Egyptian cards, in both decks, eh? They seem to be more Filipak's influence, but in the Gothic, we have our High Priestess and 9 of pentacles to consider. [Edited to add: Oops! I should have said the 9 of cups! Serves me right for working from *my* memory!] And they distinctly bear an artist's signature, which I do not believe would have been included on the painting had it not been from his hand, expressly.

Fascinating, and I'm so glad someone else was seeing all this stuff too. Wolfy, I hope you join the newly started Madame Endora study group as well! I'd *love* to hear more of what you have to say.... :D


Alissa said:
"oh my, Wolfy, what good eyes you have"

I got both decks at the same time. I noticed some of these details, and anal as I am, I had to check every single page of the LWBs and the boxes of both decks. So yeah, their collaboration is written on the back of the Madame Eudora's Fortune Cards' LWB but there is no such mention about the Gothic Tarot.

Alissa, I'm glad to see here all the other cards you noticed that I didn't, and there are many! I don't use often Madame Eudora's Fortune Cards, mostly Good Witch Bad Witch. I love the art of Madame Eudora's Fortune Cards and I hope the study group will help me understand it better and make me use it more often.

Annwyn said:
Can we also see a similar greenman on the wheel of fortune card and the 4 of cups card?

I just checked to verify. The ones I mentionned (the Knave Of Cups and The Fool) are identical to the Greenman in Madame Eudora's Fortune Cards. The ones you mention might be Greenman as well, but in different position maybe.